Berlin, 15 March 2016 - 2016 is a decisive year for the future of steel industry in Germany and Europe. ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel producer, is well-positioned in Germany with four production sites. With eight million tonnes of crude steel, it belongs to the country’s largest producers. ArcelorMittal aims to invest and to further develop its German plants. As largest individual investment, ArcelorMittal is set to implement the relining of blast furnace 5A with a volume of €40 million in Eisenhüttenstadt this year. “We thereby secure the future of our plant in the federal state of Brandenburg“, explains Frank Schulz, CEO of ArcelorMittal Germany. "Several additional investments are planned for the other sites. Due to the tense market situation and the persistently uncertain framework conditions, we will decide with a sense of proportion when and how to implement further projects."
Blast furnace 5A, ArcelorMittal Eisenhüttenstadt
Despite high capacity utilisation and a solid market demand, unfair imports from third countries such as China put downward pressure on prices and lead to margins that are in the long run unsustainable. With seven million tonnes in 2015, the amount of imports from China into the EU has doubled within two years. Current EU discussions on the Market Economy Status for China have the clear potential to suspend the effect of trade defence instruments on the European market in the future. "The exact opposite is what is needed. We need the prompt and consequent application of existing trade defence instruments in order to protect our market against unfair trading practices“, demands Schulz.
In addition, the European Commission’s new proposal on emissions trading leads to deep concern. The current reform proposal will not lead to reduced CO2 emissions in Europe, but it triggers the danger of a weakened basis of industry. “We urgently require a reform of emissions trading in order to maintain future steel production in Germany and Europe at fair competitive conditions and to avoid the migration of industry into regions with lower environmental standards", says Schulz. Fulfilling steel demand through imports from countries such as China, where steel is produced at 40 per cent higher CO2 emissions, cannot be the solution. Such erroneous developments must be avoided in order to maintain industry as the backbone of the economy and an important part of the value chain in Europe.